Data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates continued population growth for the U.S., with historical trends indicating a corresponding rise in truck freight tonnage.

The Bureau projects that as of Jan. 1, the total U.S. population eclipsed 308.4 million – representing an increase of over 2.6 million, or 0.9%, from New Year’s Day 2009. The agency added that in January this year, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the U.S., with one death every 12 seconds.

Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person every 37 seconds to the U.S. population, resulting in an increase in the total U.S. population of one person every 14 seconds.

That population growth corresponds to an uptick in freight noted in the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) compiled by U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Census Bureau.

The CFS found that total shipments of goods in the U.S. accounted for nearly $11.7 trillion in revenue and 12.5 billion tons in 2007 – up from $8.4 trillion and 11.7 billion tons in 2002. Trucking remains the most dominant mode of transportation, according to the CFS, accounting for 71% of the value, 70% of the tonnage, and 40% of the 3.3 trillion ton-miles rack up to serve the nation's freight needs in 2007.

An estimated 55% of all tonnage, however, traveled less than 50 miles. In trucking, on average, for-hire truck shipments traveled 599 miles while private truck shipments averaged 57 miles. Hazardous material shipments accounted for more than $1.4 trillion of the total accounted for in the survey and of these shipments – which weighed more than 2.2 billion tons – more than half was transported by truck.

Shipments by rail accounted for over 1.9 billion tons of goods, and 15% of the total 2007 tonnage, valued at nearly $436.4 billion, covering about 1.3 trillion ton-miles or 40% of all ton-miles. Water shipments of freight totaled about $115 billion in goods, 404 million tons, and nearly 157 billion ton-miles.

In terms of commodities, the CFS reported that electronics and electrical and office equipment were the top categories of commodity measured by shipment value totaling $1 trillion worth of goods. Gravel and crushed stone were the top commodities by weight at 2 billion tons. Coal was the top commodity by ton-miles in 2007 accounting for 836 billion ton-miles.

Shipments by manufacturing industries amounted to $5.2 trillion or 45% of the total value of goods and 4.8 billion tons or 35% of all tonnage, CFS research found. Wholesale industries accounted for 41% of the total value, $4.7 trillion, and 29% of the total weight – nearly 3.6 billion tons.